Lees Racing founder was Maxwell Lees who after a successful career as a jockey took up horse training in the mid 70’s.
Max’s first winner followed shortly afterwards when he prepared Cardiff Prince to win the Corinthian Handicap (Amateur Riders) at Randwick.
But his crowning glory came in 1977 when mercurial colt Luskin Star won the Golden Slipper.
Sadly Max’s life ended on August 26 2003 after a short illness.
Son and foreman Kris, who had his own training licence, immediately took over the 50 horse stable and Max’s loyal band of owners stuck solid.
It was an arduous task for the 30 year old and there were doubters but Kris came out firing on all cylinders.
And that has continued with the stable going from strength to strength culminating in a personal best 249 winners throughout Australia.
So what’s the secret?
The purchase of Ellalong Farm, a satellite stable at the Gold Coast, new influential clients and employees who are the most dedicated bunch you could ever find are among the reasons.
However Kris’ attention to detail and his relaxed manner, just like Dad, are the real ingredients to Lees Racing phenomenal success.
KRIS has clearly established himself in the top echelon of Australian trainers.
Thrust into the role as Lees Racing’s trainer following the death of his father Max in August, 2003, he quickly proved he was equal to the task by winning $2m in prizemoney for his owners in his first full season of training.
Only 12 months later, he captured his first Group 1 success when stable favorite County Tyrone (coincidentally Max’s final Group 1 winner in the 2002 Queensland Derby) won the 2004 The Metropolitan at Royal Randwick.
The ensuing years have shown that Kris is an outstanding trainer; evidenced by six Newcastle premierships on home turf and preparing more than 100 winners in a season on no less than four occasions (a record 119 in 2014-15; 109 in 2012-13, 105 in 2009-10 and 106 in 2008-09).
He now regularly features in the Top 20 list of Australian trainers.
Prizemoney-wise, season 2015-16 resulted in Kris setting a new benchmark.
Courtesy of winning New South Wales’ richest race – the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick during The Championships – with brilliant mare Lucia Valentina, along with the $1m Randwick Guineas with surprise packet Le Romain, Kris’ horses pocketed more than $7m for his band of owners.
Lucia Valentina’s powerhouse Queen Elizabeth performance provided Kris with his 10th Group 1 triumph.
Kris’ undoubted training prowess, coupled with his relaxed manner and ability to so popularly interact with his owners, has been instrumental in not only maintaining and building lengthy relationships, but also continuing to attract new owners.
Amongst his long-standing clients are two of Australian racing’s leading syndicators, Hunter-based Australian Bloodstock and Victorian-based Prime Thoroughbreds.